Fitness class killer's blog describes plans
Wed, 05 Aug 2009 14:45:12 GMT —
BRIDGEVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A man who sprayed bullets into a fitness class filled with women, killing three and then himself, apparently kept a Web page in which he wrote about years of rejection by women and an earlier plan for violence at the gym in which he said he "chickened out."
Neighbors described 48-year-old George Sodini as anti-social, and the Web page in his name showcased a resume setting forth his credentials as an unhappy loner. It listed his date of death - Aug. 4, 2009 - and his status of "Never married." The page ended with the words "Death Lives!"
On Tuesday night, the gunman walked into the fitness center, entered a "Latin impact" dance aerobics class and placed a duffel bag on the ground. After pausing a few moments, he took out at least two guns out of the bag and started shooting.
Three women were killed and nine people were injured. Police say may have fired as many as 52 shots before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide.
"He walked right into the room where the shootings occurred as if he knew exactly where he was going," Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said. "I think he went in with the idea of doing what he did."
Authorities on Wednesday identified the gunman as Sodini, of nearby Scott Township. The three women who died were Heidi Overmier, 46, of Carnegie; Elizabeth Gannon, 49, of Pittsburgh; and Jody Billingsley, 38, of Mount Lebanon.
The 4,610-word Web page, on a domain registered in Sodini's name, appeared to be a nine-month chronology of his plans to commit the shooting, his decision to delay it and the process that led to the eventual carnage at the health club Tuesday. Authorities did not immediately confirm that the site belonged to Sodini, but the elaborate nature of the comments so soon after the shootings suggested authenticity.
"The biggest problem of all is not having relationships or friends, but not being able to achieve and acquire what I desire in those or many other areas," said an entry dated Sunday. "Everthing stays the same regardless of the effert I put in. If I had control over my life then I would be happier. But for about the past 30 years, I have not."
The Web site's author wrote of planning the attack since at least November, and had tried to do it when the same Tuesday-night dance aerobics class he targeted met on Jan. 6.
"It is 8:45PM: I chickened out!" he wrote. "I brought the loaded guns, everything. Hell!"
The violence rocked the suburban Pittsburgh town of about 5,300 residents some eight miles southwest of downtown Pittsburgh.
Joann Gazzam, a member of the weekly dance aerobics class, saw the gunman walk to the back of the room near some weights, set down a bag and fumble with it for a few minutes before coming up with what appeared to be two guns and opening fire, according to her sister, Debi Wozniak, of suburban Dormont.
Gazzam told Wozniak that the instructor was among those who appeared to have been shot, and that the gunman had killed himself.
"She told me, 'Debi, I seen everything. Oh, my God, I seen everything. I seen him pull out the guns,"' said Wozniak, who usually attends the class ever Tuesday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. but was running late and didn't make it. Police say the shooting happened about 8:15 p.m.
The clean-shaven gunman walked in the room wearing workout gear, turned off the lights and, at first nobody knew what was happening, said Stacey Falk, 26, of Bridgeville, who was in the class.
"All of us girls were just ducking behind each other and it was just, you know, I was behind a girl, one of the girls in front to get hit, and when he was in the opposite corner shooting, I booked it," she told WPXI-TV.
The gunman went into the health club planning to shoot several people - firing "multiple" weapons "indiscriminately" - and didn't say anything before unleashing a burst of bullets, Moffatt said. Moffatt said police recovered at least two guns from the scene and a note from the shooter's duffel bag, but he would not say who wrote it.
"I don't think anyone could have stopped him," Moffatt said.
Five of the wounded victims arrived in critical condition at UPMC Mercy Hospital, but three of them were upgraded to serious condition by early Wednesday. Two women remained in fair condition at another Pittsburgh hospital. One victim was treated and released for a shoulder wound and a woman with a bullet wound to the knee remained in stable condition Wednesday.
Loretta Moss, 44, of McDonald, said she was exercising on a treadmill when she heard a popping noise.
"I didn't pay any attention, and the next minute, people were screaming," said Moss, who had come to the gym Tuesday night for the first time in a couple of weeks. She said she then heard more pops.
"There was like a whole spray of them. I'd say about 15 altogether, and then people started screaming and yelling and started running out the building," she said.
"We laid down, and then after the last set of ... gunshots, we got up, and someone said, 'run."'
Associated Press writer Kimberly Hefling in Bridgeville, Pa., contributed to this report.
Excerpts from blog-style writings on a Web page linked to George Sodini, the man identified as the assailant in shootings at a suburban Pittsburgh health club on Tuesday:
"Why do this?? To young girls? Just read below. I kept a running log that includes my thoughts and actions, after I saw this project was going to drag on."
Nov. 5, 2008: "November 5, 2008: Planned to do this in the summer but figure to stick around to see the election outcome."
Dec. 22, 2008: "Time is moving along. Planned to have this done already. I will just keep a running log here as time passes. Many of the young girls here look so beautiful as to not be human, very edible. After joining this gym, started lifting weights and like it."
Dec. 29, 2008: "Just got back from tanning, been doing this for a while. No gym today, my elbow is sore again. I actually look good. I dress good, am clean-shaven, bathe, touch of cologne - yet 30 million women rejected me - over an 18 or 25-year period. That is how I see it. ... A man needs a woman for confidence. ... This type of life I see is a closed world with me specifically and totally excluded."
Dec. 31, 2008: "My anger and rage is largely gone since I began lifting weights. Lifting drains me but I still have energy."
Jan. 5, 2009: "Was at the gym to lift. Very crowded. Tomorrow should be good. There is a woman there that gives me a certain look every time I am there. I decided to walk over and make a comment about the crowds but she left when I finished the exercise. Better that I do not get sidetracked from tomorrow's plan anyways. Life is just playing games. ... Every evening I am alone, and then go to bed alone."
May 4, 2009: "What is it like to be dead? I always think I am forgetting something, that's one reason I postponed. Similar to when you leave to get in your car to go somewhere - you hesitate with a thought: "what am I forgetting?"
May 18, 2009: "I actually had a date today. It was with a woman I met on the bus in March. We got together at Two PPG Place for lunch. The last date for me was May 1, 2008. Women just don't like me. There are 30 million desirable women in the US (my estimate) and I cannot find one."
May 29, 2009: "Another lonely Friday night, I'm done. This is too much."
Aug. 3, 2009: "I took off today, Monday, and tomorrow to practice my routine and make sure it is well polished. I need to work out every detail, there is only one shot. Also I need to be completely immersed into something before I can be successful. I haven't had a drink since Friday at about 2:30. Total effort needed. Tomorrow is the big day."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)